Welcome to Steve’s Amps 

OK here is the inevitable Coronavirus update. Things are changing quickly so I’m going to date my entries.

Sunday 29th March: Well would you look below for a good example of how fast things change? As of now I have no intention of working, or of travelling at all unless I have to for some reason more vital than guitar amp tone, until things loosen off again in – what, three weeks? Twice that? Who knows. And who knows what else will have changed by then. Keep writing with your amp issues though and I’ll respond to the detail and ask you to get back in touch when things ease. If I get a load of enquiries I might do a first come first served list. But somehow at the moment doing future planning seems kind of a waste of time. Not that we are short of the latter – were we ever so time-rich? How’s your sourdough starter? Mine’s better.

Tuesday 24th March: Limited lockdown announced last night. Workplaces like mine seem to be exempt and can keep working (non-retail, appointment callers only and very few of those relatively, two people present at most, benches more than ten feet apart, washing and wiping all the time, customers kept the required distance away). BUT there is some lack of clarity about whether it is ‘essential’ non-retail non-group non-personal contact workplaces only that are to stay open, or whether relatively safe ones like mine are ok. So I’m staying at home till I’m sure. Let’s call off any drop-offs or pick-ups until I feel I can make a good decision. 

Friday 20th March: First of all either STAY HOME or STAY SAFE on essential journeys by social distancing. Above all PLEASE DO NOT decide to come to the lovely South West for a holiday for the duration of the Covid-19 virus issue (whether you’re bringing your amp for me to fix or not). If this is fine by you, skip the next paragraph, but if not, please do read it.

If we don’t squash this outbreak right down vulnerable people will die unnecessarily because there are not enough ventilators. Doesn’t matter if it’s “just the flu” – it is very infectious cos there’s no immunity yet, so the NHS can’t cope with all the potential vulnerable victims. There could be half a million of those, most of whom will catch it and risk death unless we protect them. That’s emphatically NOT “like the flu”, is it? Doctors will then have to choose whether people live or die – on criteria like how many potential years of life you’ve got left. Do you want that? No-one does, least of all the no-longer-young like me. So follow the guidance.

OK so my plans for vintage and and guitar sales are on hold. Not willing to be attracting people down here to browse etc.

For the time being though I am open to past and new customers with guitar and bass amps or valve hifi to repair, as I believe this can be done safely and within current govt guidelines. I will observe social distancing religiously so no worries there; hands and surfaces are regularly washed. 

Friendly, reliable, economical, guaranteed amp repair service for musicians and valve hifi owners, serving Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Exeter, Torbay, Bridport, Seaton, Dorchester, Yeovil, Bournemouth and Poole, as well as Bath and Bristol, and surrounding areas, and the whole of Europe via courier.

* I share the workshop with a luthier, Andy. It’s a one-stop shop! Here’s his website

* Valve and guitar, bass and hifi amps and effects repaired.

* Marshall approved repairer, but I can fix almost any guitar or bass amp. I will look at any Marshall gear even transistor amps.

* Located in Axminster, Devon (home) and South Petherton, Somerset (workshop)

* Tonal and other modifications for guitar amps

* Repairs and rebuilds of Ami valve jukebox amps, including Stereo Continental

* Guitar amps converted for harmonica

* If no-one else can fix it, let me have a go, I love a challenge!

If you want to get in touch to discuss your requirements, best not to phone as I rarely can answer, but you can text me on the mobile number above, or email – more details on the Contact page. I hope you will understand if I ask you not to get in touch just to pick my brains, it’s nice to talk but I’m afraid I don’t really have the free time at the moment, and I have put into this site just about everything I could say without putting your amp on the bench.

If you want to know what I can do for you – go to Services

If you know what you want doing, and want to see how inexpensive I am – go to Pricing.

If you have a more specific question (like about harp amps or the components I use) – go to FAQS.

If you want to find out who else I’ve worked for, to know more about the wonderful world of valve amps, or to find out where to get stuff, here are some Links to some other fine sites.

For an attempt to use the English language to outline my terms of business, check this.

If you have an appetite for extended ramblings on the topic of amps, or are looking for general valve / tube amp information, or maybe want to join a discussion – go to my blog here: Blog

If you’re trying to fix the amp yourself and would like advice, try the Music Electronics Forum. There are some knowledgeable people on there. My general advice is that it is very rarely possible to diagnose a fault from the symptoms alone, there is usually a need to do some circuit tracing or testing to narrow things down. I tried to put everything I could offer in the way of advice in a post on my Blog section, have a read there.

Here below is a link to my facebook page, which I update from time to time.


AND NOW… Captain Beefheart’s Ten Commandments For Guitarists:
1. LISTEN TO THE BIRDS…That’s where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren’t going anywhere.
2. YOUR GUITAR IS NOT REALLY A GUITAR…Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you’re good, you’ll land a big one.
3. PRACTICE IN FRONT OF A BUSH…Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread.
4. WALK WITH THE DEVIL…Old delta blues players referred to amplifiers as the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts demons and devils. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.
5. IF YOU’RE GUILTY OF THINKING, YOU’RE OUT…If your brain is part of the process, you’re missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.
6. NEVER POINT YOUR GUITAR AT ANYONE…Your instrument has more power than lightning. Just hit a big chord, then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.
7. ALWAYS CARRY YOUR CHURCH KEY…You must carry your key and use it when called upon. That’s your part of the bargain. Like One String Sam. He was a Detroit street musician in the fifties who played a homemade instrument. His song “I Need A Hundred Dollars” is warm pie. Another church key holder is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty making you want to look up her dress to see how he’s doing it.
8. DON’T WIPE THE SWEAT OFF YOUR INSTRUMENT…You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.
9. KEEP YOUR GUITAR IN A DARK PLACE…When you’re not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don’t play your guitar for more than a day, be sure to put a saucer of water in with it.
10. YOU GOTTA HAVE A HOOD FOR YOUR ENGINE…Wear a hat when you play and keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house the hot air can’t escape. Even a lima bean has to have a wet paper towel around it to make it grow.

The great Beefheart’s death was announced 17 December 2010. RIP. “my spirit is made up of the ocean and the sky and the sun and the moon” …and some better news.